September 22nd, 2019 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 22nd, 2019

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

 

The Baptistry (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed to be able to do a few baptisms lately, and so, with baptism on my mind, I thought it may be helpful to write up something to explain the significance of the Baptistry.

As its name suggests, the baptistry is the location where baptisms traditionally take place (here at IC, it is the small room located just off to the side of the church entrance, across the narthex from the church library).  “The baptistry or the area where the baptismal font is located should be reserved for the sacrament of baptism and should be worthy to serve as the place where Christians are reborn in water and the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Baptism).

The location of the baptistry is highly symbolic.  Traditionally, the baptistry is located in an area separated from the main part of the church—either in a separate room near the entrance of the church (as our baptistry is), or in a side chapel.  To understand the reason for this separation, we need to understand the effects of baptism.

The Catechism teaches: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.  Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission” (CCC 1213).

As this explains, it is through baptism that we become members of Christ and his Church.  This is the reason that the baptistry is traditionally separated from the church, to show that until we are baptized, we are not yet inside the Church.  It is only through baptism that we are incorporated into the Church.

This symbolism continues to unfold as the Rite of Baptism continues.  The Rite instructs that after the individual has been baptized, he or she goes in procession from the baptismal font and into the church to stand before the altar, where they have the privilege of calling upon God for the first time as Our Father.

This is very beautiful symbolism, showing that it is through baptism that we are incorporated into the Church and adopted as a son or daughter of God.  Thus, we have the privilege of calling upon God as our own Father together with the Christian community.

The baptistry door is also traditionally kept locked.  This too is symbolic.  In the book of Genesis, as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, they were expelled from paradise, and an angel was stationed at the entrance of the Garden to prevent anyone from entering in the future.  However, Jesus came to open the way to heaven for us once again.

As Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), and “I am the gate for the sheep…Whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9), and “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (John 3:5).  He then commanded his disciples to go forth and baptize all nations.

In other words, Jesus indicates that it is only through him that we have access to heaven, and this access is given to us through the sacrament of baptism.  Furthermore, Christ has entrusted the sacraments to his Church.  Thus, the door at the entrance to the baptistry is symbolic of the fact that the Church has been entrusted with opening the gates to eternal life for us.  Of course, anyone who asks to enter through baptism is welcomed.  Nevertheless, these gates are a symbolic reminder to us that it is through Jesus Christ and his Church, not through our own merits, that we enter the gates of heaven.  We come to Christ through his Church requesting entrance into heaven, and the Church gladly opens the gates of paradise for us.

To be continued…

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

September 15th, 2019 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 15th, 2019

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“…because your brother was dead and has come to life again, he was lost and has been found.”

The Most Holy Name of Mary

This past Thursday was the memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary.  The reflection in the Magnificat devotional book gave the following reflection about this day:

Saint Louis de Montfort wrote that ‘the salvation of each individual is bound up with the Hail Mary.’  Why?  Because it was when the archangel greeted Mary that our Savior became flesh in her womb.  To be Christian is to carry on that Annunciation unceasingly by repeating the Hail Mary.  This prayer, which names the holy name of the Mother of God, ‘brought to a dry and barren world the Fruit of Life.  It will cause the Word of God to take root in the soul and bring forth Jesus.’  The holy name of Mary bears such power because of the unique bond between Mother and Son.  ‘When God sent his Son born of a woman, he instituted a once and for all order of salvation in which the union of Mother and Child stands at the center’ (R. Cessario).  To accept the divine privilege of speaking the name of Mary is to participate in that saving union.

There is a beautiful prayer to Mary called the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also known as the Litany of Loretto).  Let me quote from the EWTN website:

This litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary was composed during the Middle Ages. The place of honor it now holds in the life of the Church is due to its faithful use at the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto. It was definitely approved by Sixtus V in 1587, and all other Marian litanies were suppressed, at least for public use. Its titles and invocations set before us Mary’s exalted privileges, her holiness of life, her amiability and power, her motherly spirit and queenly majesty.

Each of the titles of Mary in this litany has an important meaning which sheds light on Mary’s role in the life of Christ, her role in our lives, and her dignity and honor received from God.

Since there isn’t space here to print the entire litany, I have included it on the back of today’s advertiser page in the bulletin.

And since we are discussing the name of Mary, did you know that the Church teaches us that we should bow at the names of Jesus and Mary when they are spoken during the sacred liturgy?

A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.” (GIRM, 275)

Perhaps you have noticed that during Mass, when I say the names of Jesus or Mary, I make a slight bow of my head.  I encourage all of you to make this a habit as well.  It takes a while to remember to bow the head every time, but the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature, and over time you find yourself naturally bowing your head whenever you hear the names of Jesus and Mary.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

September 8th, 2019 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 8th, 2019

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Grandparents’ Day

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

 

Church Library

Did you know that we have a wonderful library in our church?

It is located in the church narthex, as you come in the main doors of the church it is to the left.

We have a great selection of books covering: theology, saints, and growing in faith.  We also have several movies available.

Just last week someone donated a few excellent books for the library, they include:

  • Why We’re Catholic – by Trent Horn
  • Where is That in the Bible – Patrick Madrid
  • He Leadeth Me – Walter Ciszek
  • A Heart on Fire, Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – James Kubicki
  • Death on a Friday Afternoon – Richard John Neuhaus
  • Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor – Allen Hunt

And these are just some of the new books, not to mention the dozens of great books that were already in the library.

Please sign out the books or movies you borrow so we can keep track of which items are in or out.

Unfortunately, it seems that reading is becoming less and less common in our world as we tend to watch everything on our tv’s or phones.  However, books are very important for several reasons.  1) They allow us to study and think at our own pace.  2) They can include much more information than a show on tv or a YouTube video.  3) Our minds process information differently through books than through digital media, and there are studies that show that we retain information from books better than through digital media.

For all of these reasons, and simply because we have so much good content in our library, I encourage everyone to make use of it being here.  I believe that if every Catholic read one spiritual book each year it would help set our hearts on fire even more with love for God.  I encourage you to check out the library and choose a book today.  The library is here for you!  Please make use of it!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

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September 1st, 2019

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Anniversary of the Dedication of Our Church

Seventy-eight years ago, this weekend, our current church building was dedicated.  As many of you know, the current church is actually the second Immaculate Conception church building.  The first church was completed in 1904 and was located on the West side of our property (across the parking lot from where the current church stands).  Construction on the current church building began in 1940, it was completed a year later, and the church was dedicated on September 1st, 1941.

The dedication of a church is actually a very important event.  And the anniversary of the dedication is to be remembered and celebrated.  Here are some quotes from the Rite of the Dedication of a Church.

Since sacred edifices, that is, churches, are permanently set aside for the celebration of the divine mysteries, it is right for them to receive a dedication to God. 

The day on which a church is dedicated is kept as a solemnity in that church.

The rite for the dedication of a church and an altar is rightly considered among the most solemn liturgical services. A church is the place where the Christian community is gath­ered to hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise to him, and above all to celebrate the holy mysteries, and it is the place where the holy sacrament of the Eucharist is kept.  Thus, it stands as a special kind of image of the Church itself, which is God’s temple built from living stones.

The structure [of the church] built of stone will be a visible sign of the living Church.

The celebration of the Eucharist is inseparably bound up with the rite of dedication of a church.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the most important and the one necessary rite for the dedication of a church….  For the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice achieves the end for which the church was built and the altar erected…  Furthermore, the Eucharist, which sanctifies the hearts of those who receive it, in a sense consecrates the altar and the place of celebration, as the ancient Fathers of the Church often assert: “This altar should be an object of awe: by nature it is stone, but it is made holy when it receives the body of Christ.”

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First Friday Masses

I am also happy to announce that I’ve decided to try offering a 5:30pm evening Mass on First Fridays of the month.  I’ve been wanting to offer an evening Mass for working families to be able to attend, so, beginning next week, I will have Mass on Friday, September 6th at the usual 8am time, and also at the new 5:30pm time.

(Unfortunately, the following month I will be gone over the first Friday (October 4th), so there will be no Masses that day.  And then November 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation, so Mass will be at 7pm that night.  Then, finally, December 6th I’ll plan to have another Friday Mass at 5:30pm.)

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 25, 2019 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 25th, 2019

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Pope Pius X and Frequent Communion

In my article last week, I noted a problem of many Catholics not believing that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  I invited you all to consider this question and share your thoughts with me: What are some ideas you have to solving the issue of Catholics not believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist?

I decided to write a few more words about Holy Communion for today’s column because of a recent saint’s feast day.  This past Wednesday (August 21st) was the memorial of Pope Saint Pius X.  He reigned as pope from 1903 to 1914.  One of his greatest legacies is his encouragement for the faithful to receive the Eucharist more frequently, even daily.

He wrote: “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”

Pope Pius X lowered the age for First Communion from the early teens to the age of discretion (about 7), as is our custom still today.  Regarding this decision he wrote: “Children have need of Him that they may be formed in habits of virtue; youth have need of Him that they may obtain mastery over their passions; maidens have need of Him that they may preserve their innocence untarnished; all men and women have need of Him that they may advance in virtue and carry out faithfully the duties of their state in life; there are none who can afford to neglect this great source of spiritual strength, none who can do without Him.”

Like Pope Pius X, I very much encourage frequent reception of Holy Communion.  I encourage everyone to not only attend Sunday Mass, but even to try to attend daily Mass if you are able.  What a great gift we have in the Eucharist, which is truly our “bread from heaven”.

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Update on the New Cemetery Sign

A few weeks ago, we made the announcement that we are looking into buying a new sign for Calvary Cemetery.  The estimated cost of the sign (including fabricating, shipping, and mounting) is $8,000.

To date, we have raised $600 in donations, and have another $4,500 pledged, for a total of $5,100.  This leaves us $2,900 short.

I encourage you to consider making a gift in memory of a loved one who is buried in the cemetery to help fund this project.  Checks may be dropped off at the parish office, or place in the collection (please put in an envelope and write “For cemetery sign”.  Thank you!

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Update on Front Steps Project

We have been talking for some time about replacing the church’s front steps.  Well the day has nearly arrived!  Construction will begin soon.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 18, 2019 – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time  

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August 18th, 2019

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”

Belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

A recent PEW study revealed that only 1/3 of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  This is tragic.  The Eucharist is one of the most significant beliefs for us as Catholics.  Indeed, it is the daily bread that Jesus gave to us to receive his life and his strength to follow him as his disciples.

The PEW study showed that 69% of all self-identified Catholics say that the bread and wine used at Mass are only bread and wine, they are only symbols of Jesus, but not really his body and blood.  The other 31% said that they believe that the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus.

This teaching that the bread and wine are truly transformed into the body and blood of Jesus is called: Transubstantiation.  The Church’s teaching about the Eucharist and transubstantiation come from the words of Jesus himself:

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:55)

Furthermore, Jesus taught us how important it is for us to receive the Eucharist:

Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.’” (John 6:53-58)

Just a few days ago, the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops) posted the PEW survey result on their Facebook page, and then they invited people to share: “What are some ideas to solving this issue?

So, I thought it would be worth asking the same question to all of you.  What are some ideas you have to solving the issue of Catholics not believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist?

I honestly want your feedback.  This is such an important issue.  It’s not like, “Oh well, it’s ok if they don’t believe in the Eucharist as long as they are a ‘good person’.”  No.  As Jesus’ words indicate, the Eucharist is essential for us as his followers.

I invite you to email me, or talk to me in person with any thoughts you might have.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

August 11th, 2019 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 11th, 2019

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This Thursday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast day commemorates when Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul.

There is a close parallel between the Ascension of Jesus and the Assumption of Mary.  The two are different insofar as Jesus ascended into heaven by his own divine power, whereas, Mary was assumed into heaven by Jesus, her Son.  However, it is most fitting that since Mary was so closely united to Jesus on earth, that she should now be so closely united to Jesus in heaven.  Mary is the “first fruits” of Christ’s redeeming work—both at the beginning of her life in her Immaculate Conception, and at the end of her life in her Assumption.

Here are some beautiful quotes about Mary’s Assumption that I wanted to share:

As soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Die she must, and die she did, as her divine Son died, for he was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul, and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory. … And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to his own Mother. … Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by his Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.” – Blessed John Henry Newman

The Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.  Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.” – Lumen Gentium (From the Second Vatican Council)

The bodily glorification of the Virgin is an anticipation of the glorification that is the destiny of all the other elect.” – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Finally, in honor of Our Lady, and also in honor of IC’s Czech heritage, I would like our community to learn to sing the Zdravas Maria.  Some of you have told me how many years ago everyone learned this song in school.  We have been singing the Ave Maria (in Latin) after Mass for some time now, and it will be beautiful to begin learning the Zdravas Maria.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 4, 2019 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 4th, 2019

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves

but are not rich in what matters to God.”

 

W E L C O M E

Our Immaculate Conception Parish

 welcomes all visitors to our Parish Bazaar.

   We hope you have an enjoyable time!

 

~Faith

  ~Family

    ~Friends

 ~Food

~Fun

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Parish Bazaar today!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make today possible.  The gift of your time and donations to our parish is deeply appreciated.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

July 28, 2019 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 28, 2019

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Lighthouse CDs on Hot Topics

Considering the topics of my homilies last week and this weekend, I wanted to offer some additional resources on these “hot topics”.

The Catholic Church’s positions on homosexuality and contraception are extremely counter-cultural, and it can be very difficult to stand up for the truth when talking with others about these topics.

I have found the following CD’s to be extremely helpful.  They teach the truth with great clarity, and have greatly helped me learn how to articulate what we believe.

How to talk about Same Sex Marriage – by Trent Horn

Catholic Apologist Trent Horn carefully considers same-sex marriage and provides an in-depth discussion that addresses the misconceptions held by many in our society today. This examination of what marriage really is, and what it is not, provides a truly gracious and persuasive response to the debate surrounding this important topic.

Called to Love – by Jason Evert

When it comes to same-sex attractions, is the Church really telling some people not to love? If you experience homosexual attractions or have a loved one who does, you might struggle to accept or explain the Church’s teachings on LGBT issues. In this presentation, you’ll discover how all people can find freedom and love within the Church.

Contraception Why Not (Cracking the Myths) – by Janet Smith

This talk is a groundbreaking exposé on the effects of the pill on modern society. Janet Smith presents a God-centered view of sexuality that can bring married couples a joy that they could have never imagined. Backed by statistics and armed with decades of research, Prof. Smith shows the crippling effect of the contraceptive culture on our relationship with God, our romantic relationships and marriages, the culture at large and our physical and mental health.

Green Sex – by Jason Evert

First comes loves, then comes marriage … then what? If sex is natural, why are we so eager to make it artificial? In this presentation, Jason Evert presents the case for Natural Family Planning as he unveils the beauty of God’s plan for sexuality. Jason has spoken about chastity to more than one million people around the world and is the author or more than a dozen books.

Prove it God – by Patty Schneier

As a lifelong Catholic, wife, and mother of three, Patty Schneier struggled with the Church’s teaching on contraception – as many men and women do today. Her discovery of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” revealed to her the fullness of God’s plan for sex and marriage, and led to a dramatic renewal of her marriage and her faith. Patty now speaks around the country about the challenges she faced on her amazing journey.

I have received permission to distribute of a few of these talks, so they are available on the Church’s website under the Homilies link.  For the others, you’ll have to get the CD.  If you don’t have a CD player, or would like them as an MP3, talk to me.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

 

Parish Bazaar, Sunday August 4, 2019

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Please join us Sunday, August 4 for our annual Parish Bazaar.

Czech singing before and during 10am Mass.

Food Stands:

  • Hamburgers & hot dogs
  • Shredded chicken sandwiches **NEW**
  • Pulled beef sandwiches
  • Nachos & cheese
  • French fries
  • Pie & ice cream
  • VanDenCookies **NEW**
  • Slushes and Snow cones
  • Beer, pop and water

FUN:

  • Kid’s games
  • Bingo
  • Big Wheel (tons of prizes!)
  • Chance booth
  • Shop at our Country store or Used-a-bit stand
  • Bakery Booth – Czech baking!
  • Book of prize drawing at 4:30pm
  • Entertainment by Dan Smisek and the Jolly P’s

Please join us!